What is your professional title, purpose or passion?
I am a Cultural Producer. My work largely revolves around redefining traditional arts spaces, socio-political activism, inclusive engagement and artistic collaboration.
What did you want to do when you were a child and what changed?
Boy... my childhood jobs were pretty varied. I wanted to be a radio presenter, English teacher, garage MC (for a very, very short while...), writer, actor, singer (I can't sing), dancer (I can't dance). I don't think much has changed in the sense that I'm still connected to most of these art-forms through my work - fortunately I'm behind the scenes and not on the stage!
What's the best career advice you've ever been given?
"It's just theatre." You can replace 'theatre' with anything, but the crux of it was explaining that my job and my work doesn't have to wholly define me nor swallow me whole. As us Nigerians would say - I can't come and kill myself.
What is the best thing about your current working environment?
I feel like everyone is really charged at the moment - politically, emotionally, physically. People are acting and acting fast. It feels like a good time to pursue something creative as an outlet. I'm constantly inspired by the people around me creating spaces that respond to current times.
Where do you see yourself in five years' time?
In five years I'll be 30, which is equal parts exciting and terrifying. I'm excited to grow as an individual, learn new things about myself, watch myself change physically and mentally... it's hard to know what will happen, especially in our current political climate, but I'd like to see myself working to a much larger scale - possible globally - on artistic and creative interventions that continue to centre minoritised communities. I also hope during this time I would've plucked up the courage to write something artistic - maybe a film or a play, but I'm not putting a time pressure on that. If it calls, it calls.
Tell us more about a charitable organisation or project you think is great.
I'm really inspired by the work David Mumeni is doing with Open Door - an organisation working with young people to create accessible routes to Drama School education. It's grown from strength to strength over the past couple of years and has helped tons of young people achieve what they may have previously thought was the impossible. David is also generally an awesomely generous person, which is largely reflected in the work Open Door continue to do.
What drives you?
Ultimately, people and the capacity for change. I'm driven by all the different communities I'm a part of and seeing the opportunities for growth and impact. I'm driven by the injustices these communities face and wanting to do something - anything - to aid in changing these things.
Any final comments?
Also check out Black Ticket Project - a London-based award-winning initiative creating cultural access points for Black young people.
What does a normal day look like for you?
To be honest, no day is the same for me, and that's what I love most about my work. One day I'll be knee-deep in administrative stuff like drafting contracts and chasing up emails, the next I'll be in tech for a rehearsal with a jazz band or running a week-long producing workshop with a group of young people or giving a guest lecture at a university. I move around a lot each day, so perhaps that's the most consistent thing.
What have you achieved that you feel most proud of?
Last year, I was asked to write a book as part of a series of Black British debut authors called 'A Quick Ting On'. The series was created by Magdalene Abraha. It's really exciting. I'm writing about Black British theatre from the 2000s onwards, looking at how Blackness influences how we define theatre and reflecting on the last 20 years. This is something I never imagined would happen in my wildest dreams!
Tell us about a a woman who inspires you
I'm really inspired by my sister Deedee - she has a YouTube channel and taught herself how to shoot and edit, and passes these skills onto my youngest brother too. She's built a strong fanbase of young people and isn't afraid to openly talk about topics like colorism. She does a lot of things I was completely shook to do at the age of 16, and it encourages me to be bolder and better.
What was your biggest failure?
This is pretty hard to define, I think. There are many things I consider to be failures - my educational history, not getting certain jobs, doing other jobs not to the best of my ability, falling out with people, not speaking up at particular points, saying yes to things, saying no to things, having no money, having no work, not being in a relationship, not going to the gym as much as I'd hoped... the list goes on. In retrospect, none of these are particular 'failings', I guess I see them as learnings as I move into a different place, and some of them I recognise as non-failures at all, but at the time these all felt like failures, so I'll acknowledge that.
What do you like most about yourself?
Ha, this is really hard to answer... I guess I like my ability to recognise a problem and try to do something about it. I can map this trait right back to my early teens.
How can we make the world more inclusive and accepting?
Honestly, I don't know. It's deeper than compassion or empathy, I think. It's a strong arm of power that needs to be abandoned, and the people that need to abandon it are least inclined to do so. Until we recognise that the emancipation of all minoritised communities is the ultimate emancipation of us all, not much will change.
What skills have been key to your journey so far?
Patience, active listening and trusting myself - I'm still exercising all of these muscles but they are essential for any kind of personal growth.